Paddling sports are fun, relaxing, and great to exercise. You can kayak barefoot, but it's generally not recommended. Although it can be more convenient and comfortable to paddle without footwear, it's not always safe. Kayaking barefoot might expose your feet to multiple dangers, including sharp rocks and bacteria. That's why it's often better to wear water shoes.
Risks Of Kayaking Barefoot
By setting aside footwear, you make this activity slightly more dangerous. There are two main hazards you should be aware of before kayaking barefoot. Understanding what the risks are will help you avoid them.
Whether you have the misfortune to step on dangerous rocks, corals, or debris, there’s a risk of injury.Your feet also don’t offer as much traction as water shoe rubber soles. That’s why slippery environments aren’t safe for barefoot kayaking. Falling on wet rocks can be extremely painful and cause serious injuries.
Wild animals can also be potentially dangerous for you in the water, especially if you’re barefoot.
Another potential danger to go kayaking without footwear is contact with harmful organisms found in the water or on the beach. By staying barefoot, you expose your skin to bacteria and viruses. Which means you’re more likely to develop water-borne diseases.
In general, it’s only a problem if you plan to paddle in a tropical area. But always inform yourself about the environment before kayaking there barefoot. You can also invest in water shoes to avoid diseases as much as possible.
If you’ve never bought a pair of kayaking shoes and don’t know where to begin, you can try with a pair of barefoot shoes or water shoes.
The benefit of wearing water shoes:
- PROTECTION & SAFETY
Most water shoes cover the entire foot and have thick soles. These features are essential for protecting your feet from hot surfaces and sharp objects, such as rocks and shells. Look for a style that has built-in toe shields to help prevent stubbed toes. This is especially important when wading through water with unpredictable and rocky terrain, such as riverbeds and ocean floors.
- TRACTION & SUPPORT
Water shoes feature specially designed tread for optimal traction on slippery surfaces, including boat docks, decks and water equipment. Their rubber outsoles also offer a better grip on these wet surfaces.
- LIGHTWEIGHT & QUICK DRYING
You shouldn’t feel as if you have two anchors on your feet. Non-water shoes often get heavy when waterlogged, which disrupts the smooth, fluid movements you’re looking for in underwater footwear and makes for added weight when you aren’t submerged.
- COMFORT & WARMTH
Water shoes are flexible and made with mesh material for enhanced breathability, which helps keep feet cool. This also allows for improved water flow when submerged and better drainage when out of the water.
They also provide insulation, keeping feet warm in cold water. Regulating your body temperature underwater is important as poor circulation and coldness could affect performance and safety.
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